Helps Finishing Industries Understand Green Specs
Among the sessions held during the Fourth Annual Finishing Industries
Forum, taking place this week in Las Vegas (CLICK
HERE for related story), labor-including finding qualified labor
and retaining it-clearly took the forefront. But among other sessions
was an informative seminar on how to interpret green specs. Jennifer
Eaton, project manager of the Green Academy and Center for Sustainability
at Cuyahoga Community College in Cleveland, spoke to members of
the Painters and Allied Trades Labor Management Cooperation Initiative,
the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades and the Finishing
Contractors Association attending the conference about how to better
understand the increasing number of green specs showing up on these
|Jennifer Eaton, project manager of the Green
Academy and Center for Sustainability at Cuyahoga Community
College, presented a seminar on understanding green specs during
the Finishing Industries Forum.
"LEED so far is still very design-sided," Eaton said,
"and when it trickles down to [subcontractors] it's very confusing."
In some ways, she added, "going green" is like starting
a new business, with new products and new paperwork with which to
Eaton focused on the U.S. Green Building Council's (UGSBC) Leadership
in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) program, saying,
"There are a lot of other competing products but LEED really
seems to be the one that's going to take the market." She noted
that parts of such alternative products as Green Seal and Green
Globes are beginning to be absorbed by LEED.
She began by outlining the rating categories and levels of LEED,
noting that some changes will be made with the release of Version
3 in 2009 (CLICK
HERE for more information), and then proceeded to talk about
product-specific issues. She recommended that upon deciding to focus
on green products, glaziers and other subcontractors build their
vendor files first by calling their existing vendors and learn what
they have that meets LEED standards. She suggested updating these
files every six months as "this stuff is changing that fast."
Being familiar with the green products available is important for
glaziers and other subcontractors, Eaton and members of her audience
agreed, as it is often up to the subcontractor to ensure that an
appropriate product is used. Eaton also advised that during early
LEED meetings with the design team one should ask how to get approval
for substitution to ensure that an appropriate product is used that
fits the application and earns LEED points.
In response to questions from the audience Eaton acknowledged that
there are a number of bugs yet to be worked out in this green certification
system dominating the market. "You can actually build a LEED-certified
building without using approved products," she said. "It's
a flawed system. They're just trying to get people thinking."
As she pointed out, by becoming a member of USGBC and commenting
on updates, trades people are able to impact the point system.
But even with the appropriate products selected, the subcontractor
has a great deal of information to provide to USGBC for the building
to be certified. As far as paperwork is concerned, Eaton advised,
"Remember to bid in more man hours for doing paperwork."
Among the examples of additional paperwork required by USGBC were
the typical technical data sheets and material safety data sheets
as well as chain of custody forms showing proof of origin (using
products within a certain radius can earn a building LEED points)
among other things, recycled content forms showing the percentage
of the product from recycled material, material use confirmation
forms, waste reduction forms and progress reports and green certification
As Eaton pointed out, "We're no longer working as individual
now we're doing it all together." The concept
of integrated design describes the importance of the subcontractors
working with the designers and other trades people; for example,
one issue that came up during the conference was the relationship
between the glazier and the electrician when it comes to the relatively
new task of installing photovoltaic panels in buildings.
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